Ben Tupper was deployed to Afghanistan. He’s written two books about his experiences: Greetings from Afghanistan: Send More Ammo and Dudes of War. Like many a returning vet, adjusting to civilian life hasn’t been without challenges. As is common among vets, Tupper’s kept most of the quirks he’s adopted to make life back home bearable to himself. One of the biggest battles he’s fought since returning is with the anxiety he experiences any time he’s more than arm’s reach from a weapon. In a commentary on NPR this morning, Tupper revealed what he’s found makes him feel secure now that he’s back stateside . . . .
Tupper bought – and keeps close – the same weapons he had while in country. He keeps the same model combat shotgun stuffed under his mattress. An M4 carbine lives in his office. And he stows an M9 pistol in his truck.
Think of it as peace of mind through firepower. Intellectually, he knows he won’t be the target of a Taliban attack. But reason has little to do with it.
Until a few months ago no one, including his wife, knew anything about his cold steel security blanket. He didn’t tell friends or family fearing their reaction – anything from alienation to a forced intervention.
Until, that is, he spoke to a group of student vets and they started pulling out everything from hunting knives to ChapStick tubes. I don’t know if that technically qualifies as a form of PTSD but as he found, he certainly wasn’t the only one who needed to know he could ward off an attack.
I’m not a vet and I’ve certainly never been in anything approaching combat. I hope I never will. But in a small way, I’m similar in that I don’t talk about being a “gun person.” Not with friends or relatives. I can just imagine my mother’s expression (never mind the disapproving rant) if I told her I actually carry a gun.
And I’ve run into a number of gun owners who feel the same way. As RF has pointed out, there are some very good reasons to STFU about what you may have in your safe at home. You could end up in a very bad situation.
But I don’t tell people because I don’t want the hassle. I don’t want to explain. The questions. The looks. Is that dishonest? Or just the path of least resistance? It certainly doesn’t do anything to promote 2A support.
I’m just deeply glad that – unlike Tupper – it’s my choice to carry and not a burning imperative that must be complied with due to things I’ve gone through and seen that I can only imagine. For both of us, it’s good to have that option.